It’s sad to see what Bernie’s fans have become – I used to be one of them

From UMass to the DNC – I have been there all along


PHILADELPHIA – Despite transparent attempts to present a united front at the DNC, today proved that the Democratic Party is not only incapable of moving forward together, but plainly, more divided than ever.

A once ride-or-die Bernier, I am no longer comfortable associating myself with the new and obviously bitter movement surrounding him.

In February, when Bernie came to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I skipped all of my classes and waited in line in the freezing cold for hours, as the Mullins Center staff prepared for him to take the stage.

After I was inside and my fingers had thawed, I climbed to the top row of the highest mezzanine and continued waiting with my other Bernie or Bust friends for another two or so hours.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 4.51.06 PM

Five months later, graduated and reporting from the floor of the Democratic National Convention, I am watching my “ride or die” deliver his speech, and I feel no connection to his movement. Perhaps, because I am no longer proud to associate myself with it.

“I understand that many people here in this convention hall and around the country are disappointed about the final results of the nominating process. I think it’s fair to say that no one is more disappointed than I am,” he said as he addressed the convention tonight.

Was he deprived of the right to a fair and just campaign? Yes. And regardless, did he run one of the cleanest campaigns in history only to be turned on by members of his own party? Yes.

This aside, was the Bernie campaign ever founded upon a single ounce of bitterness? No. So how, now, in the face of such adversity, can we dishonor him by dismissing all that his campaign was founded on, and allowing ourselves to become so?

When I first saw Bernie, I felt as if I were a part of something that was not going to happen again. I stood in the yellow glow of our sport arena transfixed by his words, but even more so, by the crowd surrounding him.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 12.31.51 AM

After hours of waiting, it is typical of a crowd to die down and lose steam as the excited energy surrounding anticipation dissipates, and one is left standing tired, hungry, and slightly annoyed with the very person they came to see, despite having been told that they would be waiting for precisely this amount of time.

With every person who came out before Bernie, the crowd was more responsive. It didn’t as much matter who it was, but that we were all there together for the same reason.

I had never felt an energy quite like it, and I was confident that I never would again – it was too special. It was something else, something only Bernie, even just the anticipation of Bernie, could conjure.

I was there in the primaries for someone whom I knew never stood a chance, but whom I also supported more than any potential nominee ever. I signed on to his policies, but more importantly, I signed on to him as a person – I still do. What I don’t sign on to is his new fan-base.

Standing in this crowd today, every time “Hillary Clinton” was mentioned, people began booing and whining “Beeeeeeernie.”

I am not going to pull a Sarah Silverman and tell Bernie or Busters that they’re being “ridiculous.” I understand the hesitancy to vote for someone other than him, and I recognize that what happened was unjust.

However, to follow someone so closely – to be sure that they are the one you want leading your country – and to then turn and scoff when they tell you that the only option for this country now is to vote for Hillary, it doesn’t line up. To agree with someone so adamantly and to then dismiss their desires for such an important cause, it seems half-baked.

Bernie has never been one to say anything he did not stand behind one hundred percent. He ran against Hillary, and of course they have their differences, but like he said, “If you don’t believe this election is important, if you think you can sit it out, take a moment to think about the Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump would nominate and what that would mean to civil liberties, equal rights and the future of our country.”

There is no space in this election for selfishness, and while I understand the disappointment surrounding the candidates – I voted for Bernie as well – I also understand that it would be foolish to now turn on the one I have trusted so deeply.

For me, it was never that he wasn’t capable, but because, like he claimed so many times over, all odds really had been against him from the beginning.

Dismissed again and again for his ramblings that party members who were supposed to remain unbiased were turning against him, eyes began to roll. Those who had been with him all along attempted to empathize with him, but those walking the line were turned off by it.

How could someone with such absurd conspiracy theories possibly be fit to run the country?

With the truth now out, it remains debatable that he would have stood any semblance of a chance sans tampering, but what is undeniable is that such ‘ramblings’ were not uncalled for or absurd at all.

This campaign was never fair, but one must consider whether becoming cross about it takes back from so much of what his campaign has worked tirelessly to accomplish in the past year?

As I stood in the Mullins Center five months ago, already nostalgic for something that had not passed, I was right in believing I would never feel that same energy in a room for Bernie again, but what I felt tonight was far, far worse than anything I could have imagined.

“Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. The choice is not even close.”